In early July 2000, Lloyd and Carolyn came to our house to try out the Shofu tool. Let me back up a bit before we move forward. Several years before this Lloyd had a pretty bad stroke that left his right side almost useless. He had no use of his right hand; he was able to walk for very short distances. He also lost his ability for speech. His friend Don did Intarsia which requires using a scroll saw and a variety of different sanders. Lloyd wanted to give that a try, but Don realized that it would be extremely difficult for Lloyd to use the tools necessary for making intarsia. Not wanting to see his friend get discouraged, (I’m sure that would have been possible) Don mentioned that Carolyn should give me a call and let Lloyd try the Shofu High Speed tool since it is so easy to use. Now we can move forward to where we started. Lloyd and Carolyn came to our house and Lloyd made his way to my one person studio. (It is much bigger now) We got Lloyd settled in my chair and handed him the Shofu. I put a mirror tile in front of him and a small piece of walnut. Before his stroke he was left handed so that made it a little easier for him to use the tool in a familiar way. He started making some lines on the mirror and his face began to light up.!!!!! That was one of those defining days in my life. Carolyn watched him for a minute or two and then said, “Would you like to get one of these tools?” At that moment in time it was obviously a rhetorical question. Lloyd’s whole countenance had changed and his head was giving the YES nod furiously. Although he had lost his speech he could get out yes and no. He just kept saying yes.
A few days later I went to their house and set up the tool for him. He could not use a foot pedal so I set up a valve with a handle that he could easily turn. I showed him and Carolyn how to put bits in and take them out and how to oil the tool. (That was before the oil free tool came out.) I also gave them some basic ideas of what bits would be good on certain surfaces. When I was done Lloyd embarked on a new life. He lost interest in TV and began spending about 6 hours a day in his studio engraving and carving. He finally had a way to express what was inside of him. Love is what came out of Lloyd.
Most of his projects, whether they were in wood or on glass, were done in sets of 14. (Their children and grandchildren totaled 14.) Some of his projects were for individuals and some for his church. He would never take money, it was all for his pleasure. He did many wood projects that were extremely unique. For one of his projects he got his children to send him a photo of the front of their houses including their driveway. He then carved a wood plaque of each house and painted in the correct colors. When he painted, he had to have Carolyn help him because he was color blind. Once when I went to see him to help with some issue, he had tried to paint a cat that he carved without the help of Carolyn, the cat was brilliant green.!! Things like that never slowed him down; he just laughed heartily and repainted the cat.
The moral to this article is that carving and engraving can be very therapeutic for stroke victims. If a stroke victim has the use of one of their hands they can benefit greatly by using the Shofu tool. Because it turns at such a high rpm (360,000) it never grabs or pulls and is therefore easy to use even if you do not have much strength. Our kits are designed with a foot pedal to turn the tool on and off, but we have set them up with a lever type valve for many people that cannot use their foot to turn the tool on.
If you know of someone who has had a stroke or has some other disability, let them know about us, we would be blessed to help them.
Lloyd passed over in 2009 and Carolyn shortly after. They have been greatly missed and will long be remembered.